It's true we spend more on our grocery budget than most people would. I'm not going into number details here because I think that's personal and I wouldn't ask you to tell me what you spend on yours. But I do think that your food spending should be a decent part of your overall budget and not just a drop in the bucket because what you put into your mouth is the biggest factor of your health. We do not spend much on sick care because we use our food budget as our health care. With that being said, I totally understand that there are some that need to cut every corner imaginable in order to put that good quality food into your mouth. So I have here a list of ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank. I hope it helps you.
#1. Have a budget - Know how much you can spend. My husband and I LOVE the guidance of Dave Ramsey and his book, Financial Peace. But of course, there are lots of sources out there to guide you in making a budget if you don't already have one. The important thing is, make one, make food a priority in it over vacation, entertainment and luxury items and stick to it.
#2. Plan a Menu - I already talked about planning a menu in my post on Menu Planning. In planning a menu, one is able to plan ahead on items you already have in the freezer, things that are on sale in your grocery store sale flyer (hopefully produce and organic or grass-fed meats), and space out your more expensive meals with less expensive meals in between.
#3 Cook From Scratch - It really is cheaper. We rarely eat out or get take-out. One, now that we eat quality food we actually get allergic reactions if we accidentally ingest artificial ingredients, especially neurotoxins (see my post on Our Food Story and others if you are not familiar with this yet). Staying home and cooking from scratch saves a huge chunk of money.
#4 Eat Your Leftovers - I'm not sure why some people put their noses up at leftovers. They make a wonderful breakfast or lunch if you don't want to save them for another dinner. I usually schedule one leftover meal per week - if we run out of leftovers thru the week before this meal, then I just make an omelet or something simple. Usually I eat leftover vegetables with breakfast as a side with my eggs.
#5. Eat the Right Foods - After eating It Starts With Food and changing how we eat a little more than what we already were doing, I learned that I was saving money because when we eat right we don't have the need for snacks. It's true. If my breakfast contains the right amount of protein, vegetables and a healthy fat, I'm not hungry until lunch time. The same with other meals and in the evening time when I was usually hungry for those processed goodies that are costly and aren't healthy.
#6. Coupons - I just learned this trick...no, not coupons in general but coupons for those expensive organic foods you don't normally find in the newspaper. Call the company (or email) and tell them you want to try their product but don't want to spend the money. Many of these companies are willing to send you coupons! You can also follow your favorite organic/natural food companies by email, newsletters or Facebook or Twitter and keep an eye out for sales or coupons advertised on those sites!
#8. Find a Co-op, CSA or Online Source - In a small city close to where I live there is a pick up location for UNFI. We order from the catalog almost monthly. It involves a once a year fee but we save about 10% off usually already lower prices in the catalog for packaged items like natural soaps, detergents, shampoos and other items. They have lots of processed snacks and fours, etc. as well though I don't buy so much of that anymore. I have also found that Amazon often has the products I need at much lower prices with delivery right to my door in 2 days time since I am an Amazon Prime member.
#9. Gardening - You can save A LOT of money by planting your own organic vegetables and learning how to can or freeze. If you don't have time to can, you'd be amazed at how much you can freeze. Buying an extra freezer is minimal compared to how much money you will save in the long run. If you live in an apartment, container gardening is still doable! Every little bit helps - even if it's just a cherry tomato plant!
#10 - Buy half a cow - That's right. If you find a farmer in your area that has grass-fed beef, find out the cost of how much buying a half a cow or even a quarter would be. It's worth buying a small to medium-sized freezer to do this. You'd be amazed at how much less it actually is per pound than going to the grocery store and buying it in single unit packages from them. We have a great farmer that we work with and because we do buy in 'bulk' from him he will often give us discounts when we need to buy single items from him at the farmer's market....which leads me to # 11....
#11 Buy at your local farmer's market. You need to ask questions but you'd be surprised. Some of these farmers raise their crops organically but do not have the money and time to put into getting the organic label. This saves YOU money. Ask questions...find the best quality for the lower price. And you might find a cattle farmer like we did 🙂
#12 Serve smaller portions of meat. Don't forget that vegetables should really cover the largest area on your plate. Your meat or fish portion should only be about a fistful (maybe two if you're a big guy). Following that guideline is healthier and will help save money. Quality Meats do tend to be more costly than vegetables.
So there's my 12 tips for the day to heat healthy without going broke. I bet there are more that my readers can come up with. Do you care to share how you save money and still eat healthy?